Gerardo Parra Rumors

NL Notes: Zimmermann, Amaro, Upton, Parra

Here’s the latest from the National League side of the ledger:

  • The Nationals will sit down with Jordan Zimmermann‘s representatives at the Winter Meetings, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reportsMatt Cain‘s extension with the Giants (six years, $127.5MM) may be the best comp for Zimmermann and the Nats as they look ahead at renewed contract talks, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter. Of course, that deal is now a few years old, so it may require a bump up to account for inflation.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces a difficult task given how little leverage he brings with him to San Diego, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other clubs may be looking to take advantage of the perception that Philadelphia needs to make a move to start its rebuilding process, Gelb explains.
  • The Braves are still waiting to find the right deal for outfielder Justin Upton, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the club is hoping to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher if it deals him. Among the teams with interest are the RoyalsRangers, Padres, and Indians, per Sherman.
  • The Brewers are open to the possibility of dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, Parra — who is projected to earn $6.4MM through arbitration (via MLBTR/Matt Swartz) — could make sense for teams that fail to land Melky Cabrera.

Arbitration Notes: Ogando, Moreland, Russell, Parra, Descalso

Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), and already took a look at some notes earlier today.

Here’s the latest on the upcoming decisions:

  • Righty Alexi Ogando and first baseman Mitch Moreland are expected to be tendered contracts tomorrow, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Both players have some upside that Texas is surely loath to give up on, though each brings some uncertainty with their projected $2.6MM and $2.8MM arb costs (respectively).
  • As things stand, the Braves‘ only certain tenders are slated for Mike Minor and David Carpenter, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is still unsure exactly how it will proceed with respect to rehabbing starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy as well as pen lefty James Russell. The southpaw, who was added at the trade deadline, projects to earn a fairly meager $2.4MM and seems a decent value at that price tag.
  • Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash indicated that the team intends to tender Gerardo Parra a contract rather than cutting him loose, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Parra’s hefty $6.4MM projection is quite a sum for a fourth outfielder, though Ash noted that he has received plenty of playing time as a part-time starter and frequent reserve. And, of course, a trade could still be made.
  • It seems likely that the Cardinals will non-tender utilityman Daniel Descalso, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes. Descalso carries a $1.4MM projected salary but saw a reduced role last year and the organization has added several apparent pieces that would seem to be viable replacements.

Brewers Notes: Braun, Ramirez, Segura, Parra

Fresh off wins over Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Brewers, who have occupied first place for a club-record 135 days, will look to sweep the NL West-leading Dodgers for just the second time in franchise history. Here’s the latest news and notes out of Milwaukee, courtesy of Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

  • The front office is very worried about the chronic nerve injury to Ryan Braun‘s right thumb, which has sapped his power and threatens to make the five-year, $105MM extension signed in 2011 an albatross. “I don’t think the financial part of it matters because he’s going to get it whether he has a good thumb or a bad thumb,” Assistant GM Gord Ash told Haudricourt. “It’s guaranteed money. From a comfort and playing point of view, you want to find a solution. The money is the money. You can’t change it now. So, what you’re trying to do is put him in the best physical condition you can to succeed.
  • The Brewers and Aramis Ramirez hold a $14MM mutual option (with a $4MM buyout, if the team declines its half) for 2015. Haudricourt envisions a scenario where Ramirez and his agent, Paul Kinzer, could leverage a weak crop of free agent third basemen and seek a second year or, at the very least, a vesting option in return for exercising the player’s half of the mutual option. If a deal cannot be worked out and Ramirez does decline his option, Haudricourt notes he could receive a qualifying offer dampening the market for the 36-year-old, but also leaving the Brewers on the hook for approximately $15MM.
  • The Brewers tabled extension talks with shortstop Jean Segura in March over an inability to gauge the 24-year-old’s worth in light of Andrelton Simmons‘ seven-year, $58MM deal. Segura has struggled offensively this year (.234/.268/.318), which Haudricourt attributes to a combination of pressing to show he is deserving of such a rich contract, bad luck (.261 BABIP compared to .325 in 2013), and the tragic death of his infant son. Haudricourt opines the best course of action for both sides is to let Segura establish his future value in 2015, since he isn’t eligible for salary arbitration until after that season.
  • In a recent online chat, Haudricourt sees the Brewers tendering a contract to Gerardo Parra, who is eligible for arbitration for the final time this offseason. The 27-year-old outfielder, acquired by the Brewers at the Trade Deadline, is earning $4.85MM this season.


D’Backs Notes: Parra, Prado, Bauer, Bradley

Here’s the latest from the desert…

  • The Diamondbacks’ deadline trades are analyzed by several rival talent evaluators, who share their thoughts with Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  Some scouts feel Gerardo Parra is on the decline and could’ve been a non-tender candidate since he’s on pace to earn between $6-7MM in arbitration this winter, so “getting even a decent piece for Parra is a great move,” said one American League source.  Parra was dealt to the Brewers on Thursday.
  • Catching prospect Peter O’Brien has power but his defense and ability to play in the NL drew mixed reviews from scouts, though the biggest benefit of his acquisition was that the Yankees took the roughly $25MM remaining on Martin Prado‘s contract off Arizona’s books.  Losing Prado, of course, removes the biggest piece from the Justin Upton trade, and Piecoro notes that the D’Backs have now traded several stars (including Upton, Prado and Parra, among others) when their value has been low, rather than selling high.
  • One of those low-return deals could be the three-team trade between the D’Backs, Reds and Indians from December 2012, as Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer feels the Tribe look like the winners of that trade 20 months later.  Arizona gave up a highly-regarded pitching prospect in Trevor Bauer (due to reported attitude issues with team management) and relievers Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers in the trade, and now Bauer seems to be turning the corner as a rotation staple while Shaw has been a valuable setup man for Cleveland.  The Snakes, meanwhile, got back Tony Sipp, Lars Anderson and Didi Gregorius in the deal; they’ll regret this one if Bauer becomes an ace, though Gregorius seems like a promising enough young shortstop that I wouldn’t say Arizona made off poorly in the trade.
  • Archie Bradley is pitching well at Double-A Mobile and, perhaps more importantly, is healthy after an injury scare in April, Jack Magruder writes for Baseball America.  Bradley was shut down for a while to ensure that his right elbow was fit, and he has a 3.97 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and a 1.47 K/BB rate in 34 innings for Mobile (his numbers somewhat inflated by one particularly poor start).  Magruder speculates that Bradley might get a late-season promotion if the D’Backs move to a six-man rotation.

Diamondbacks Shopping Gerardo Parra

The Diamondbacks are shopping outfielder Gerardo Parra, an MLB executive tells ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). The 27-year-old is earning $4.85MM in his penultimate season of arbitration eligibility.

Parra, who bats from the left side, was said to be an unlikely trade candidate, but it appears that Arizona’s stance has changed. Parra has struggled this year with a .256/.301/.358 line, while defensive metrics have soured on his work in the outfield. After posting 5.5 rWAR and 4.5 fWAR last year, he has been at or below replacement level in 2014.

Nevertheless, Parra could be attractive to teams given his ability to play center and track record of success. And while he will not be cheap next year, Parra should remain affordable in a market that handed eight-figure, two-year guarantees to players like Nate McLouth, Rajai Davis, and David Murphy.


Rosenthal On Aiken, Parra, Dodgers, Benoit, Cubs

In his latest column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reminds everyone why experienced foreigners like Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu are considered eligible for Rookie of the Year awards.  Of course, players like Abreu and Tanaka come with years of professional experience, but they still have to make a significant transition when it comes to the move to MLB, both professionally and culturally.  Here’s more from Rosenthal..

  • High school left-hander (and first overall draft choice) Brady Aiken reportedly arrived in Houston last Monday, which would indicate that an agreement was close, but a week later nothing has been announced and neither side is saying why.  The holdup, Rosenthal says, bears a resemblance to the delays that occasionally occur in free agency when players fail physicals and teams try to rework deals.  If indeed Aiken failed his physical, the Astros would have the right to offer him 40 percent of his signing bonus value, according to the new draft rules that were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011.  Of course, this is just speculation on Rosenthal’s part and only the parties involved know whether there is any kind of issue with Aiken’s physical.
  • D’Backs outfielder and fan favorite Gerardo Parra might be among the least likely in Arizona to be traded. With  A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo on the disabled list, a trade of the 27-year-old would leave the club short on experienced outfielders.  It’s also unclear how much Parra would bring back in a trade.  Parra is making $4.85MM in his third year of arbitration and amounts to little more than a platoon player, given his career .586 OPS against left-handers. Third baseman Martin Prado, earning $11MM per season through 2016, is another player the D’Backs might opt to keep, even though he has struggled at the plate as well.  Second baseman Aaron Hill, meanwhile, is expendable given their surplus of middle infielders.
  • It would be surprising if the Dodgers traded an outfielder considering the recent injury woes of Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, and Andre Ethier.
  • The Tigers didn’t re-sign Joaquin Benoit last winter because they didn’t want to pay him closer money, but he still makes sense for them as a mid-season pickup.  The Padres reliever, who turns 37 in July, is owed about $3MM this season and $8MM next season with an $8MM team option or $1.5MM buyout for 2016.
  • Jake Arrieta probably has the best stuff of any Cubs starter right now but, of course, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are more likely to be traded since Arrieta is under club control through 2017.  Lefty Travis Wood, meanwhile, could be an extension candidate once the Cubs complete their rotation selloff.

D’Backs Preparing To Sell; McCarthy Drawing Interest

Though his ERA and win-loss record aren’t much to look at (5.38 and 1-10), Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy is drawing trade interest, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). A free agent at season’s end, McCarthy has about $4.72MM remaining on this year’s $9MM salary — the second year of a two-year, $15.5MM pact he inked in the 2012-13 offseason. Rosenthal notes that Arizona is likely to make multiple trades before this year’s deadline.

While McCarthy’s season looks rough on the surface, there are a lot of factors suggesting that he could quickly turn things around. McCarthy’s .339 batting average on balls in play is 44 points higher than the league average, and he’s sporting the best ground-ball and K/9 rates of his career (55.9 percent and 7.4, respectively). His fastball velocity has soared from an average of 90.8 mph over the past two seasons to 93 mph, and he’s sporting his best swinging-strike rate since 2006 as a result. McCarthy has mostly been plagued by home runs this season, but his fluky 21.7 percent homer-to-flyball ratio figures to come down.

There’s not much question that McCarthy will be available in trades. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports, the Snakes are said to be preparing to put a “for sale” sign on their roster and are weighing trades of multiple veteran players. GM Kevin Towers — who, despite the hiring of Tony La Russa, calls this July business as usual — told Piecoro: “[W]e have to look at being more open-minded of moving some contracts and some veteran players for younger players.”

A fire sale may not be as easy for the D’Backs as it would for most teams, however, Piecoro cautions. McCarthy and fellow veterans Cody Ross and Aaron Hill are underperforming this season, which will hurt Arizona’s potential return in trades. Other movable veterans such as Eric Chavez, Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo are all currently on the disabled list.

One scout told Piecoro that the left-handers in Arizona’s bullpen — Joe Thatcher and Oliver Perez — figure to be of interest to other clubs. Both have enjoyed strong seasons to this point. Thatcher is a free agent at season’s end, while Perez, who signed a two-year deal this winter, is controlled through 2015. That same scout said he is intrigued by Gerardo Parra, but noted that the outfielder’s declining speed is a concern.

Towers noted to Piecoro that he would be reluctant to move young, controllable players such as Didi Gregorius and Triple-A shortstop Nick Ahmed (presumably, Chris Owings falls into that category as well).


Diamondbacks, Gerardo Parra Avoid Arbitration

The Diamondbacks and outfielder Gerardo Parra have sidestepped an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.85MM, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro (on Twitter). Parra is a client of Relativity Baseball (formerly known as SFX).

Parra and the D-Backs exchanged arb figures back in January, with Parra asking for a $5.2MM salary and the club countering with a $4.3MM figure. Parra's $4.85MM guarantee is $100K north of the $4.75MM midpoint between the two figures. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected the defensive wizard to earn $4.2MM this offseason.

The 26-year-old Parra batted .268/.323/.403 with 10 homers and 10 stolen bases (in an unsightly 20 attempts) for the Diamondbacks in 2013. Though his stolen base efficiency left something to be desired, Parra cut his strikeout rate to a career-low 15.2 percent and played some of the best outfield defense in all of Major League Baseball. Parra appeared at all three outfield positions, and UZR/150 valued his defense at a sky-high +29.5 runs. The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved metric pegged Parra for a ridiculous +41 runs, essentially making him the outfield equivalent of Andrelton Simmons. The oustanding defense is reflected in his Wins Above Replacement totals, as despite a roughly league-average season with the bat, Baseball-Reference pegged him at 6.1 WAR while Fangraphs valued him at 4.6 WAR.

With Parra's case now resolved, Mark Trumbo is the only remaining Diamondbacks player who has not yet agreed to a 2014 salary, as can be seen in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.


Arbitration Filing Numbers

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker is the place to go to see the arbitration contracts agreed upon thus far, as well as the figures exchanged between teams and players that were not able to reach agreement before today's noon deadline to swap salary positions. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available here.

As MLBTR has previously explained, 146 players officially filed for arbitration (after some eligible and tendered players had alread reached agreement). Of those, 40 players will exchange figures with their clubs. Of course, those players can still reach agreements before their hearings (which will take place betwee February 1st and 21st). If the case goes to a hearing, the arbitrator must choose one side's figures, rather than settling on a midpoint.

For the Braves players listed below, however, Atlanta says it will cease negotiations and take all cases to a hearing. Two other teams that have swapped figures with some players — the Nationals and Indians — also have employed variations of the "file and trial" approach with their arbitration cases.

Though a tweet from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Reds have joined the list of teams employing "file and trial," GM Walt Jocketty did not seem to echo that position in comments today to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

We will use this post to keep tabs on the the highest-stakes arbitration situations remaining — those where the player files for at least $4.5MM:


D-Backs Could Look To Extend Parra, Ziegler

The Diamondbacks are expected to pursue long-term deals for both Gerardo Parra and Brad Ziegler this offseason, writes Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona.

Interest in an extension for Parra was actually first noted by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic last week. General manager Kevin Towers offered high praise for Parra's glove to both reporters, noting that Parra is the type of player who can win games with his glove and throwing arm alone. Towers said to Piecoro that he feels Parra profiles better as a center fielder from an offensive standpoint, though he's a better defender on the outfield corners.

Towers voiced his pleasure with Ziegler to Magruder, praising his right-hander for pitching well in any situation:

"He's pitched well. He's pitched well since he's been here, in lot of different roles," Towers said. "When he comes in a ballgame, I feel pretty confident, whether it is the seventh, eighth or ninth."

Parra is earning $2.35MM this season and is under team control through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player. Ziegler, who was acquired from the A's for Brandon Allen and Jordan Norberto in July 2011, is earning $3.15MM this season and is eligible for free agency following the 2014 campaign.

Towers' comments on Parra's glove appear to be spot on, as UZR/150 pegs him at a sky-high +29.4 runs, and The Fielding Bible estimates that he's saved 38 runs on defense alone in 2013. At the plate, he's delivered a .266/.322/.401 slash line that checks in just below league average (98 OPS+).

As for Ziegler, he's turned in a 2.26 ERA in 67 2/3 innings. And, while his 5.1 K/9 is low, he mitigates that with a 2.8 BB/9 rate and a whopping 70.3 percent ground-ball rate that checks in as the highest among pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings this season.

Parra told Magruder that he "loves" playing in Arizona but doesn't want to listen to contract offers until after the season and is focused on finishing strong. Ziegler simply said he wants to pitch for a winning team, regardless of what inning he's entering the game: "I want to be on a winning team, and whatever I can do to help the team win, you are never going to find me complaining about my role on the team."